December 1, 2014

Are you passionate about making a difference in the world? Are you  interested in careers where your STEM skills can make that happen? The December 1st Dallas STEAM Explorers meeting speakers inspired students with a clear message — Choose a STEAM career with a purpose.

Mike Jagielski

Mike Jagielski, a mathematician at Bell Helicopter, told students how his passion to bring U.S. troops safely home led to his STEAM career as an operations analyst for a defense contractor. Using a miniature helicopter for visualization, he explained the complex issues of aircraft combat survivability, susceptibility, and vulnerability. Mr. Jagielski expounded on the step by step process of survivability, which includes computer modeling, rigorous testing, mission analysis, mission layout, and flight simulations. Every day, he uses algebra, geometry, and other high level math skills to do his job. He explained that Bell employs many physicists, mathematicians, aerospace engineers, mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers. Mr. Jagielski ended his presentation by telling students about Bell’s exciting internship program, which is available to college students between their sophomore and junior years. Visit their website to learn more about it or click here. Click here to view videos about the Bell UH-1Y Yankee, Boeing V-22 Osprey, Bell AH-1Z Zulu, Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, and Bell V-280 Valor.

Darryl Smith

Next, students heard from Darryl Smith, CEO of Premier LogiTech, who also chose a career path where he could “make a difference in the world.” Mr. Smith highlighted the important relationship between taking STEM classes in high school and future entrepreneurship, and emphasized the critical role of math and science in pursuing careers in business. Mr. Smith told how he was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy (read about their summer STEM programs), one of the top rated colleges in the U.S., where students receive an all-expense paid education, are guaranteed employment, and become part of a strong alumni network. After a demanding 6 year career as a U.S. Marine officer, Mr. Smith attended Wharton School of Business, a top ranking Ivy League business school. He then worked for Accenture as a strategy consultant before moving to Platinum Equity. In 2007 he bought Premier Logitech, a supply chain management firm. In seven years he tripled the work force, quintupled sales, and received numerous awards.  Mr. Smith closed his presentation by stressing how his STEM focused education, coupled with military training and experience, facilitated his current success as a CEO and business owner.

Therelee Washington

Finally, Therelee Washington (Mr. Smith’s brother-in-law), founder and president/CEO of Texas Premier Technology Institute, and CEO of AgiliShare Solutions Group, emphasized the importance of STEM related classes in high school so that students can face the ever-changing demands of technology and cloud-based data storage, an issue that involves virtually every STEM field today.

Eliot and Sindhu

Special thanks to volunteer Sindhu Thottan from AT&T, who, along with Eliot Paek, welcomed almost 50 students, teachers, and parents to last night’s meeting.